previous next


The plant known to us by the name of "radicula,"1 is the second of these productions. It furnishes a juice that is extensively employed in washing wool, and it is quite wonderful how greatly it contributes to the whiteness and softness of wool. It may be produced anywhere by cultivation, but that which grows spontaneously in Asia, and Syria,2 upon rugged, rocky sites, is more highly esteemed. That, however, which is found beyond the Euphrates has the highest repute of all. The stalk of it is ferulaceous3 and thin, and is sought by the inhabitants of those countries as an article of food. It is employed also for making unguents, being boiled up with the other ingredients, whatever they may happen to be. In leaf it strongly resembles the olive. The Greeks have given it the name of "struthion." It blossoms in summer, and is agreeable to the sight, but entirely destitute of smell. It is somewhat thorny, and has a stalk covered with down. It has an extremely diminutive seed, and a large root, which is cut up and employed for the purposes already mentioned.

1 Or "little root;" though, in reality, as Pliny says, it had a large root. Some writers have supposed, that by this name is meant the Reseda luteola of Linnæus, the "dyer's weed" of the moderns; but neither Pliny nor any of the Greek writers mention the Radicula as being used for dyeing. Some, again, identify it with the Gypsophila struthium of Linnæus, without sufficient warranty, however, as Fée thinks.

2 The Gypsophila struthium grows in Spain, and possibly, Fée says, in other countries. Linnæus has "pretended," he says, that the Spaniards still employ the root and stalk of the Gypsophila for the same purposes as the ancients did the same parts of the Radicula. He himself, however, though long resident in Spain, had never observed such to be the fact.

3 This description, Fée says, does not correspond with that of the Gypsophila struthium, the stalk of which does not at all resemble that of the ferulaceous plants, and the leaf is quite different in appearance from that of the olive.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (6 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: